The other day I was thinking about the delightful comedic actress Anna Faris, and how it seemed like we hadn’t heard much from her for a while. I postulated, “Hey, she’s funny and beautiful and amazing … she should guest star in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie alongside her husband, franchise lead Chris Pratt!”
As a grim coincidence, the next day my news feed revealed that the two were separated, on their way to divorce.
While I have never been a member of the E! Channel/TMZ/People Magazine crowd that follows things like celebrity breakups, hearing about them is still an unavoidable part of modern life.
Sadly, this isn’t the first (relatively) high-profile divorce to befall stars of the departed NBC comedy "Parks and Recreation." Show creator and star Amy Poehler split a few years ago from her celebrity husband Will Arnett, he of "Arrested Development" fame, after the two had cameoed as love interests on each other’s respective shows. Maybe, like renewing vows, appearing in your spouse's hit TV show is a harbinger of the relationship's end. After all, remember Brad Pitt's appearance on "Friends" with then-wife Jennifer Aniston? Four short years later and their marriage was done. Pitt had similarly bad luck after appearing in wife No. 2 Angelina Jolie's film "By the Sea."
It stands to reason, then, that Pratt and Faris were headed for done-zone. Pratt appeared in his wife's CBS show "Mom" in January of this year and now here they are, facing divorce.
Given the publicity that surrounds celebrity breakups, they can start to feel like an inevitability. The celebrities who enjoy successful relationships seem to be those where only one member of the couple is super famous — like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson — or where one member specifically avoids the spotlight. Lord of the Rings franchise power couple Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have been together for 30 years, and they consciously decided that Walsh would remain the private of the two.
If we're being totally honest, there's a Schadenfreude in watching celebrities’ relationships fall apart. We assume their lives are so amazing — fueled in part by celebrities oversharing their vacations, homes and fun on social media — that we don’t mind too much when some real life happens to our culture's demigods and goddesses. But conversely, because we know so much about their lives, even if that knowledge is skewed and heavily filtered, we feel like we actually know these people who exist on our screens and can feel a personal loss when their lives aren't as perfect as we want them to be.
There's probably a formula to measure the impact of a celebrity couple's break-up, based on not just their individual popularity but their combined popularity in terms of earnings, press hits, and endorsements. If the couple was on screen together, then their breakup retroactively pollutes whatever movie/TV show they shared (Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart for Twihards).
Though sometimes, we breathe a sigh of relief (Nicole Kidman) when they breakup with someone who might be a little bit crazy (Tom Cruise) and feel bad for whoever might come next (Katie Holmes). Then other times we might not have noticed that a couple was even a couple (Katy Perry and … that guy Katy Perry was married to).
What celebrity breakups have hit you the hardest? Which ones are you convinced will go the distance? Put them in the comment section below.
And … if you're Anna Faris … feel free to have your publicist reach out to the D News for my contact information.